Well here’s a surprise arrival… IBM brings Domino apps to the cloud!

This is terrific news for all those that want to be able to utilise their portfolios of Domino applications but also to embrace the economic and availability advantages of shifting to the cloud:

IBM Lotus Domino Utility Server for LotusLive, a new cloud-focused licensing model, simplifies the discussion and buying decision for deploying Lotus Domino collaborative applications in the cloud and moving end users to IBM’s best-in-class, cloud-based messaging for the enterprise, LotusLive Notes. Many organizations today want to manage infrastructure through streamlined, predictable costs with pervasive connectivity, high availability, and flexible deployment options.

Based on the same model as the Domino Utility Server, this new license allows you, as LotusLive Notes subscribers, to use the included Notes client for access to Notes/Domino applications. That means that instead of paying per-user software subscription to continue to use Notes/Domino applications, regardless of client/browser access method, you can now switch to a server-only based licensing model. Instead of paying for everyone in an organization to continue to use those applications, you can pay for anyone in the organization to use those applications. You are able to more easily evaluate and value your Domino applications in a separate context from the commodity and cost-focused decisions around messaging, and yet retain all the benefit of existing and future investment in building applications on Domino.

Many organizations have wanted to separate the mail and applications discussion. This new approach recognizes that trend and addresses it for businesses moving to the cloud.

I know that some partners (such as Connectria, Applicable and GBS) have had ‘App in the Cloud’ offerings for a while, but I think it is vital to the long-term future of the Domino development community (in-house developers, consultants and ISVs) that IBM supports this model through attractive and easy-to-apply licensing and hosting models.  This announcement seems to deliver on this:

The Domino Utility Server for LotusLive model is available in the IBM Cloud and Amazon models, in addition to on-premises deployments if you are moving or considering a move to the cloud. Special pricing is planned so you can trade up from Domino Enterprise Servers, in conjunction with deployments of LotusLive Notes (or LotusLive Notes and LotusLive Engage).

In addition to the full-featured, enterprise-ready email, calendaring, and contact management services, which are accessible via a web browser or Lotus Notes client, LotusLive Notes customers now have a clear path forward for moving collaborative Domino applications to the cloud, as well.

The Domino Utility Server for LotusLive licensing model:

  • Supplies a simple path for customers moving to the cloud
  • Lowers the barrier for customers wanting to move their Domino applications into a cloud model
  • Includes access to both LotusLive Notes services and Domino applications – via a web browser or Notes client
  • May be utilized with other “pay as you go” offerings through IBM Cloud, Amazon EC2, or business partners providing Domino application hosting services

My comments:

  1. This is, of course, a first step toward delivery of support for Domino apps in the cloud.  I am sure that there will be hiccups and hurdles along the way, there always are when new licensing models are delivered.  However, I really do want to applaud Ed Brill and the team for getting this out there.
  2. In the past, some elements of the Utility Server model have attracted criticism for being too expensive, particularly for smaller customers.  Given that the Lotuslive cloud-based offerings are so appropriate for SMBs and startups, I hope that the pricing is attractive this time.
  3. I note that this offering is still Processor Value Unit-based.  I know that this is IBM SWG’s chosen method for pricing server-based offerings.  However, I have some concerns about its validity for cloud-solutions.
  4. IBM is building an impressive portfolio of LotusLive solutions now, even when compared directly against competitors such as Google and Microsoft.  However, awareness and marketing of the Lotuslive portfolio still lags a very long way behind.  I’d love to see this rectified to give these great solutions the ‘air cover’ they deserve.
Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!